Thursday, January 08, 2015


Slumped in my seat on the post-five-a.m. train, I suddenly realized that my fellow commuters all around me also looked like myself, suited-slugs in a pod. Clothed in black, eyes baggy, faces slunk down almost into their chins, we must have made a sorry sight. At least my brain was active -- trying to make sense of the Japanese book I was struggling through, and thinking sad thoughts about Parisians in shock, and wondering if the purple dress-shirt I was wearing was as wrinkled and crumpled as I secretly feared. Add to that random, up-from-nowhere childhood memories of my Toronto-cousin being too frightened to sleep on Easter's eve because the Easter Bunny for him was one large and seriously fucked up bearer of Cadbury chocolate eggs. My head felt very singular.

Yet around me were similar, for lack of a better word, humans. They, too, had been deep in dreamland less than a short hour before. Remembering random remnants of life as they flitted through their dreams. (I'm guessing three-quarters dream, twenty-five percent memory.) Then they had gotten up, stretched, pissed, had a shower, possibly gotten off with the shower-head before toweling themselves dry. Now they were aligned alongside me, thinking of brightly-lit office jobs and factory lunches to come in the cold day ahead. And snapshots of their children, rosy-cheeked or sullen, made them smile or just wince, not that they'd show that to me.

If only there were some easy kind of way to harness all our inside-stuff. The train can be such a zapped-out, lifeless tomb of a shuttle. What energy we might have, on these chilly winter morns! All these fragments and tangents of life inside us, stored only for ourselves. I imagine some kind of lightning-rod set up at the end of each car, and a blood-red switch to be thrown to ignite the circuits inside us that might harness this glare. Suddenly all the memories and premonitions, anxieties and wishes of a hundred-plus people would coalesce for a moment into a grand ball of blue light. All the morning-smells that shame us, and the fire mixed with cold that animates our emotions, and the itch below our left nipple that we need to scratch right away, and the hope in our hearts that pumps out of our life with each passing beat, all of these human knick-knacks could then use this outlet that would ignite the morning train-car in a dazzling golden glow, twig-like and reaching, like one of those May-Two-Four-weekend sparklers we used to grip so tight as children, watching the sparks dance in the night air before their bright trail faded out.